Before it was possible to ship a container to Bolivia, that and other underdeveloped countries had very few means of raising the standard of living of their citizens. With the construction of the first containerports in South American countries, a whole new world of opportunity arose for hundreds of coastal cities around the globe.
The remarkable thing about the international container shipping industry is just how far it has come and how fast. The idea of packing large quantities of goods into standard sized containers that could be loaded onto a truck or train and from there onto and off of a container freight vessel is only around fifty years old. This type of transport was first used by the U.S. military in the late 1960s. By the early 70s, industry picked up on the idea and it has now become the world's most frequently used mode of transport for goods of all descriptions.
By the 80s, shipping a container to Bolivia or other relatively small nations was commonplace. Shipping containers, measured in units called "TEUs" or Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, were suddenly traveling on vessels of increasingly larger size. While a container ship that held 3000 TEUs made the news in the late 70s, today, there are many ships that carry 5 times that amount of cargo and larger and more efficient ones are being built all the time. As of 2010, a Korean ship building company is in the late planning stages of building a 22,000 TEU capacity vessel, which will not only have the largest diesel engine in the world, but be one of the cleanest running ships in history.
While as compared to the gigantic harbors in places like China and the U.S., container to Bolivia ports are still an important part of the intricate network of international container shipping destinations around the world. Nothing defines the concept of the "global village" better than the container freight industry. It is truly amazing that such a huge industry could grow to such a global scale so quickly. The reason why it all works so well is because, in a sense, everyone in the business speaks a common language.
Whether it is a container to Bolivia or to any other country, it is handled in exactly the same way. The customs officials at the port communicate with the ship's captain, who in turn communicates with container freight companies around the world. Whatever their native language is, they all understand the terminology of their business and how to handle the tens of thousands of containerloads that enter and exit a port each year. You could take a dockworker from Bolivia to Seattle and he would know exactly how to do his job.
Many economists place the credit for the growth of the world's economies over the past 4 decades squarely on the shoulders of the container freight phenomenon. Without it, the vital supply chain of goods would be far weaker. It can arguably be said that container to Bolivia port accessibility put that country and many others on the global economic map.